The store is out of what you need, creativity is running low and dinner hour is looming. What do you do? Turn to the beautiful basics.
Tonight, it was roast chicken breasts. Start by searing them on the stovetop until golden brown, then finish by oven roasting. Easy, foolproof, and almost no recipe required. Success is guaranteed.
Basic Roast Chicken Breasts
The store was out of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and there was but one package of bone-in breasts left. Amongst many shoppers, I quickly nabbed the last package to roast for dinner. I’ve never cooked roast chicken breast that my husband did not devour.
Go For Bone-In
Bone-in chicken breasts are an excellent choice at the market. The bone helps preserve flavor and moisture, and they are about half the price of boneless, skinless breasts. All of this, and you can have them on the table in about 35 minutes. An added benefit is part of the time is hands off; you can make some vegetables, toss a salad and finish the rest of the meal.
Even without sauce, roast chicken breasts taste great when well seasoned, seared and finished in the oven. Once you do this you won’t need a recipe. It’s all about technique. Roasting chicken breasts will become one of your basic go-to solutions for getting dinner on the table.
How to Prep Chicken Breasts
Start by trimming off the rib bones and any extra skin or fat with a cleaver or sharp heavy knife. This gets rid of extra little bones many people don’t like dealing with and makes for a much nicer, cleaner presentation.
After trimming, season well with kosher or sea salt, black pepper and granulated garlic. Heat a stainless steel sauté pan, or fry pan over medium heat for a minute or two. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil. The oil is hot when it moves around freely in the pan and liquifies. Don’t let it smoke, which is the sign it’s too hot.
Sear and Oven Finish
Place the chicken breasts in the pan top side (skin side) down. The chicken should sizzle when it hits the pan. Allow a golden crust to form, then turn breasts over and add wine (or broth). Allow liquid to cook down for one minute, then place chicken breasts on the rimmed baking sheet and pour liquid over the top and finish roasting in the oven.
Roast chicken breasts until a digital thermometer (I use a Thermapen) reads 160 degrees in the thickest part without touching the bone (you’ll get an inaccurate reading). The temperature will rise to 165 degrees upon standing for a few minutes before serving. Use the juices like a sauce when it’s done if desired.
If you have chicken breasts of different sizes, the smaller ones will roast faster. Test them first ( at about 20 minutes depending on size) and remove from the oven. Cover with foil and set aside to stay warm, or place in a 200 degree second oven or a warming drawer.
Simple Technique-Make Extra for Leftovers
Try this simple technique for roasting chicken breasts and add it to your repertoire for getting a good dinner on the table. Extra chicken makes wonderful chicken salad for lunch the next day, so have no fear of leftovers or buying more than you think you need. I always plan for leftovers.